Hello from the Seychelles! On Saturday night we flew from Paris to Mahe on a flight that was supposed to be operated by Air Seychelles. However, Air Seychelles is discontinuing their longhaul flights, and on top of that decided to return their A330s early, so Etihad picked up the slack and is operating the route for the last few weeks.
I’m familiar with the Etihad hard product, though was curious to see whether the soft product would be typical of Etihad or Air Seychelles.
Well, I’m happy to report that it was an extremely pleasant 9hr30min flight.
The Etihad A330 operating the route had a staggered configuration in business class. When the aircraft swap occured we were automatically placed in “honeymoon seats,” which in general I’m not a fan of. However, in the end I sort of enjoyed them. While Etihad’s seats look fine, I’d note that they’re desperately in need of an update, as the padding is awful, and at times I felt like I was sitting on a metal bar.
The entire crew was from Etihad, with the exception of one Air Seychelles flight attendant, though I only saw her at the boarding door as she was otherwise working economy. The way in which the crews operate this flight is interesting. If I understood things correctly, they basically operate flights from Abu Dhabi to Paris to Mahe to Paris to Mahe to Paris to Abu Dhabi, meaning it’s a long trip for them, and then they get a few days off.
In terms of the soft product, there was a good pillow and blanket. The pillow was large and plush, while the blanket was light but snuggly.
The Air Seychelles amenity kit was similar to the Etihad kit, though was branded differently.
The food was reasonably good, though not memorable. What I did appreciate is some of the “local touches” in the service. For example, they specifically highlighted how they had special cocktails, including white rum from the Seychelles. So as weird as it might be to order prior to dinner, I had a “bloody maria” as my pre-dinner drink, which was served with banana chips.
For the starter there was the choice between a mozzarella and tomato salad, and smoked salmon tartare. I had the salmon tartare, which was quite good.
For the main course there was the choice between beef fillet, grilled chicken breast, and tagliatelle. For the airline of an island nation, I’m a bit surprised they didn’t have any fish on the menu. I ordered the beef, which was just alright.
Then for dessert was the choice between a cheese plate, and an opera cake, both of which were tasty.
They also had all kinds of freshly made coffee drinks, including cappuccinos.
For breakfast I mixed things up and had pear and chocolate crepes, which were so delicious and rich.
While the meals weren’t huge, I thought the service pace was excellent, as service was fully customized. Dinner courses were brought and cleared as each person individually finished, and breakfast was served as each person woke up.
On that note, the crew was excellent. I’ve had mixed experiences with service on Etihad, though the three flight attendants working business class worked so hard, and were so friendly. They finished the entire meal service within 75 minutes of takeoff, and within a few minutes of waking up in the morning, one of them was at my seat to ask how my rest was, and if she could get me anything to eat.
I’m sad I didn’t have the chance to fly the real Air Seychelles, though I’m happy I at least got to experience part of their soft product. Overall you can color me impressed.